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Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Muslim opposes "Christophobia" and the religion of secular nationalism

Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish journalist and advocate of rapprochement between Islam and the West, responds, here, to torture and murder of Christians in Turkey.

Akyol distinguishes between the teachings of the Qur'an and Sharia.  He insists that the Qur'an teaches the toleration of Christians and Jews:

Although the Qur'an decrees no punishment for a person who leaves Islam and chooses another religion, traditional Sharia, which is a post-Qur'anic body of law created in the early centuries of Islam, brings a horrible sentence: capital punishment. According to this view, anybody who abandons Islam can be rightfully killed — a punishment which the Afghan convert to Christianity, Abdur Rahman, barely escaped last year thanks to the intervention by the international community.

  The reason that Islamic jurists decided to punish apostasy by death in the Middle Ages was that they saw religion and polity as inseparable. Thus, a defection from Islam was regarded as treason to the Islamic state. These concepts have no meaning in today's world, of course, and they are actually against one of the basic principles of the Qur'an: “there is no compulsion in religion.” (2:256)

That the Sharia was an innovation on the teaching of the Qur'an.  Akyol also points to an edict of 1856 in contemporary Turkey's predecessor regime, the Ottoman Empire:

It is also worth noting that the ban on apostasy was abolished by the Ottoman Empire by the Reform Edict of 1856. “All forms of religion are and shall be freely professed in my dominions,” proclaimed then the Sultan. “No subject of my empire shall be hindered in the exercise of the religion that he professes.” Unfortunately, some parts of the Islamic world, and even some Muslims within Turkey, are tragically backward when compared to the Ottoman mindset.

Akyol suggests that the most recent instances of radical Islam were incited by dogmatically secularist Turks.  Where once they stood in staunch opposition to Islamization of Turkey, now they turn their sights on a feared "Christianization" of Turkey as Christians distribute Christian Bibles:

“'Christian missionaries infiltrating our country! Islam is slipping out of our hands!' These words represent the epitome of a very hot debate in Turkey in recent weeks. What made them more surprising than ever was that they belonged not to a conservative Muslim, but to Rahşan Ecevit — the influential wife of Bülent Ecevit, Turkey's former prime minister and long-time guru of left-wing, secularist ideology. Nobody had heard Mrs. Ecevit worrying about the future of Islam before; instead, she used to speak about the ‘threat' of it.

"Actually, Mrs. Ecevit is not the only secular Turk who is furious at Christian missionaries, whose only ‘crime' is distributing free Bibles on Turkish streets and opening small, in-house chapels for the tiny Christian community in Turkey. In recent years, the hyper-secular circles who are defined by their attachment to ‘Kemalism' — the hard-core nationalist ideology claiming to represent the views of modern Turkey's founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk — are engaged in a concerted effort against the imagined plot to ‘Christianize' Turkey. Even Doğu Perinçek, a veteran Maoist and committed atheist, is rallying to the forefront of the anti-Christian crusade.”

Finally, Akyol locates this latest attack as symptomatic of "Islamo-nationalism" that cares more about "Turkishness" than Islam.  That its targets have included Muslim Kurds as well as Christians.

Is it "un-Turkish" to be Christian?  Un-Persian or, even, un-Arab?

And, um, is it "un-Canadian" to be an evangelical?

(Cross-posted from Burkean Canuck).

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on April 28, 2007 in International Affairs, Religion | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

I have seen the light

The Tory brains trust thinks that they can just pass an eventual ban on incandescent light bulbs, and all will be well. But, such things have a practical impact that MPs may not consider before they pass legislation.

Let's see what will happen at my home when the ban on these light bulbs takes effect in 2012.
There are nine light fixtures in the ceiling and walls of my home.  A few months ago, several of the bulbs went at once, and I decided to try some of the new long-lasting florescent bulbs. Imagine my dismay when I found that only two of the nine light fixtures would allow me to use these bulbs. (I could use naked bulbs without a shade, but I have been told that that may not be good for your eyesight.)

When the ban is put into effect, I will have to call my landlord to hire a handyman to replace the fixtures. I doubt that the handyman will be riding a horse to my house, so we can assume that he will burning greenhouse gases on the several trips that he needs to do this chore. I also doubt that he will be using old fashioned hand tools or working by candlelight, so we can assume that quite a bit of electricity will be required as well.

Multiply these renovations thousands of times. I wonder if anyone has put a dollar figure on that.

Surely, an environmental surcharge on the old fashioned bulbs would be a smarter idea. You could require florescent bulbs in all new construction and renovations, and make this transition much less costly.

I have

Posted by Rick Hiebert on April 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (57) | TrackBack

Jason Kenney demands action from Stephane Dion

Dion Needs to Denounce or Fire Violent, Extremist Liberal Candidate

EDMONTON – Jason Kenney, Conservative Member of Parliament today demanded that Stéphane Dion denounce or fire Farhan Mujahid Chak as the nominated Liberal candidate for Edmonton – Mill Woods – Beaumont.

Chak was also Stéphane Dion's Edmonton Campaign Manager for his 2006 Liberal Leadership Campaign.

In 1993 a Farhan Mujahid Chak, then 19 was arrested for firing a shotgun into a popular Edmonton nightclub.

"Stéphane Dion should show some leadership and come clean about the background of Farhan Mujahid Chak," said Kenney. "Has Stéphane Dion ever raised questions about the background of Farhan Mujahid Chak?"

In 1999, Mr. Chak wrote a letter to the Edmonton Journal accusing India of "grotesque human rights violations." The next year, he claimed that India is not a free country.

In 2000, Mr. Chak referred to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a "butcher", accused Israel of "terrorism, massacres and savagery" and even "the pillage, the rape and the enslavement of an entire population."

In a 2002 article for an American Islamic publication, Mr. Chak suggested that terrorist attacks within France were not committed by Algerian Islamists, but rather by "unseen hands" including "such co-conspirators as the French government."

Last year, Mr. Chak even threw baseless charges of "exclusiveness, racial superiority, injustice and arrogance" at the new Conservative government in a local Polish publication. Mr. Chak added that Canada was "trying to destabilize Poland" through its foreign aid programs.

"Erratic behavior and extremism have no place in Canadian politics, and yet the Liberals have nominated an individual who appears to be guilty of both," said Kenney. "It's time for Stéphane Dion to come clean and tell the Canadian people whether or not gun violence and political extremism have a home in the Liberal Party of Canada."

Posted by Steve Janke on April 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (68) | TrackBack

Friday, April 27, 2007

Christian "terrorist cell" makes trouble; Muslims respond

Spiegel Online International offers extensive reporting of the torture and brutal murder of a German Christian missionary and two Christian, Turkish citizens by a band of young men who had expressed interest in and attended a Bible study organized by the Christians.  Links to other reports may be found, here. The most gruesome details of the torture are included following a letter addressed to "The Global Church" from "the Protestant Church at Smyrna" which I have posted without alteration.  The description below the letter requires a strong stomach -- you have been warned.  (For more of Christian "terrorist cell" makes trouble, go to Burkean Canuck).

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on April 27, 2007 in International Affairs, Religion | Permalink | Comments (102) | TrackBack

The headline says it all

"China denies poisoning pets, and promises not to do it again" - a perfect post title by Steve Janke.

You can also access it via my post, which includes another call to close the border to ChiCom foodstuffs, Olympic rumblings, and a few other things.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on April 27, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Farhan Chak: Poster boy for Liberal gun control platform?

From 1993:

A 23-year-old employee of Barry T's, 6111 104th St., was stabbed in the thigh during a fight between several men about 3:15 a.m. Saturday.

As bouncers tried to remove the men, a shotgun was fired over their heads into a doorway.

Farhan Mujahid Chak, 19, has been charged with aggravated assault by endangering lives, use of a firearm during the commission of an offence, pointing a firearm and possession of a prohibited weapon.

Is this the same Farhan Chak who was Stephane Dion's campaign manager in Edmonton, and who used that connection to secure a nomination in Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont?  The same Farhan Chak who thinks Islamic fundamentalists are a myth concocted by Western intelligence agencies?  Who thinks that Palestinian violence is justifiable defence against Israeli aggression?  Same age, same name, same town.

If it is, would that make Farhan Chak a poster boy for Liberal gun control?

Elect us, and we'll make sure we don't let us get our hands on guns!

Expanded story at Angry in the Great White North.

Posted by Steve Janke on April 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Is Liberal candidate Farhan Chak a nut with a gun?

Western Standard alumnus Kevin Libin, now writing for the National Post, takes up the story of conspiracy theorist and Liberal Party candidate for Edmonton-Mill Wood-Beaumont, Farhan Chak.

As you might recall, Farhan Chak believes that Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are racists looking to destabilize Poland, that Palestinian violence is an entirely justified defensive response, and that "Islamic fundamentalists" are a fiction created by Western governments to hide the terrorists violence that they themselves are responsible for.

Chak's response?  "As time goes on, you develop your views."

Some people wonder how someone with Chak's baggage would win a nomination.  Well, it helps to have friends:

Mr. Chak had strong backing from the Mill Woods Muslim community, [losing nominee Sital Nanuan] explains, and was popular because he was Edmonton campaign manager for Stéphane Dion's Liberal leadership bid. "You think they'll listen to me? Because he says, 'I have been working with Dion,' so the whole committee, they wanted to help him out."

Chak might be a nut, but at least he's a harmless nut.  It's not like there is any reason to believe he would do something crazy like shoot someone:

And there are questions around a 1993 shooting incident at a local club in which an Edmonton man named Farhan Mujahid Chak, then 19 - which would make him the same age as the Liberal candidate - was charged with use of a firearm during commission of an offence and possession of an illegal weapon. (After cutting short an interview, the candidate did not respond to requests for clarification on the charges.)

Right then.

The entire Kevin Libin article is reprinted at Angry in the Great White North.

Update: The article is also online.  Missed it the first time.

Posted by Steve Janke on April 27, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (85) | TrackBack

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Terrorists Coming

Persian language news outlet "Iran Press News" reports that two notorious IRGC commanders have been dispatched to Europe as Military Attaches of the Iranian embassies. These two are Brig. General Saeed Ghasemi, head of intelligence at IRGC 27th mechanized division, and the other one is infamous Ansar-hezballah militia leader Brig. General Hossein alah-Karam who is also known for his brutal suppression of students and political activists in late 1990s. The former's posting is not mentioned but the latter seems to be posted to the Iranian embassy in Croatia.

Gen. Ghassemi, aka Haj Saeed, is the one who started recruiting suicide bombers a few months ago. Iran Press News says these two are posted to hit US interests in Europe.

Cross-posted

Posted by Winston on April 26, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack

Can Man’s Best Friend Also Clothe Him?

Thousands of Japanese people have recently paid $1600 each for sheep that they thought were poodles; animals that cost $3200 in Japan.

The Japanese movie credited with uncovering the scam was very surprised that her poodle would not eat dog food or bark. She was shocked to find out that her pet was not a dog at all.

Posted by Jonathan Goldfarb on April 26, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Ontario's environment minister parodies vulgar behaviour

Broten_flickoff When I first saw this photograph I thought it was just poor advance work by a staffer -- letting Ontario's environment minister be photographed in front of what looks like profanity.

Turns out that the situation was much worse than that.  This was no accident.  It was quite deliberate.

Ontario's government is part of a new coalition that parodies vulgarity in an effort to "reach" young people.

They chose FLICK OFF to sound like you know what, with the artwork deliberately designed so that LI looks like U.  The website encourages people to "FLICK OFF" and "GO FLICK YOURSELF!" and asks rhetorically, "ARE WE FLICKED?"
 
This is a conscious effort to be "relevant" to young people.  Apparently the only way that Ontario Liberals can think of to be relevant is to crawl into the linguistic gutter.
 
So in trying to be hip and au courant in an effort to model good behaviour (energy conservation), Broten has chosen to parody bad behaviour -- in fact, vulgar behaviour.  Nice.
 
It's important to be relevant to young people in order to reach them, but most adults recognize that being relevant is no excuse to forget the difference between right and wrong.
   
Parents trying to raise our own kids understand that.

Posted by Guy Giorno on April 26, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (73) | TrackBack

Indulge a vice and ease your conscience

You can just see the overheated marketing minds at work on this one, calculating all the cross-promotional benefits, the product positioning, etc., etc., ad naseum:

The news is that the B.C. Lottery Corporation [and surely other provincial lottery corporations too] has teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund to unleash a "Save Our Polar Bears" scratch&win card. Top prize in the game is $25,000, but the featured prize is -- wait for it -- "a polar bear Adoption Kit" worth $40.

"The kit will contain a stuffed polar bear [this year's leading, wide-eyed mammalian icon for the preservationist movement] made of environmentally friendly materials [naturally!], an adoption certificate [how cute and how utterly useless!], a sticker and an information brochure explaining why polar bears are threatened [no they aren't!] and how WWF-Canada is working to save them [that'll be the day!]."

I suppose that since the Lottery Corp is in the business of selling daydreams, it's only natural that it team up with an organization whose livelihood is peddling myths.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on April 26, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Bricklin blows it again

Take a look at the MSNBC story on Chery Auto, to which I refer here.  You'll find that not even Communist China was able to make a deal with Malcolm Bricklin.  This article by Kevin Steel should explain why I found that so amusing.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on April 26, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Publicity

Nationalpost

National Post newspaper has the complete story on "recent crackdown on women" and this is somehow good news for those of us who expect the world media to pay attention to what's going on inside of the country. This is also a great sign and it is appreciated so much by all of us. Any sort of publicity is welcome when it comes to expose the evil regime of Iran and evil things the mullahs do to the Iranian people on a daily basis.

Cross-posted

Posted by Winston on April 25, 2007 in Current Affairs, Media, Religion | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack

Taiwan can beat back a Communist invasion

For those of us who are worried about this scenario becoming a reality, this is excellent news.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on April 25, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

An inclusive B.C. Legislature

B.C. MLAs voted 68-3 in a free vote yesterday to destroy a series of four historical murals on display in the B.C. Legislature. Aboriginal leaders have long complained that the works of art depict native Indians in a negative way, but the murals' dwindling number of defenders have countered that the depictions are historically accurate.

The Vancouver Sun's short story on the decision was buried in its second section this morning, but can be read here. Although it glosses over the issues involved, the story does contain a rather moving description of artist George Southwell's granddaughter, said to be "in tears after watching the debate from the public gallery in the legislature."

Interested readers can get a good grasp of the issues by reading the Hansard record of yesterday's debate here. It's noteworthy that no one -- not even the three MLAs in favour of retaining the murals -- likened the politically motivated destruction of unfashionable art to the Taliban's destruction of non-Muslim religious sculptures in Afghanistan. I guess that would be going too far, wouldn't it?

Posted by Terry O'Neill on April 25, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (22) | TrackBack

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Steyn is nominated

We at the Western Standard have just learned that our back-page writer Mark Steyn has been nominated in the Best Columnist category of the National Magazine Awards. It's our first NMA nomination, and we're simply delighted with the recognition. Good luck to Mark and all the other finalists!

Posted by Terry O'Neill on April 24, 2007 in Media | Permalink | Comments (20) | TrackBack

Choice at sea

Europe is in a demographic death spiral, so what does a Dutch group, called Women on Waves, want to do? Why, send a floating abortion clinic on a cruise around the continent, of course.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on April 24, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (141) | TrackBack

The Beijing boycott campaign hits Britain

Well, sort of.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on April 24, 2007 in International Affairs | Permalink | Comments (24) | TrackBack

Vice-regal target

When even the establishment-friendly Globe and Mail torches the governor-general, you can bet that the troubles at Rideau Hall are profound.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on April 24, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Taking guns to class

Check out the CNN piece, accessed through the LA Times website here, about what's going on at the University of Utah. Apparently, upwards of 500 students are known to be packing handguns to the Salt Lake City campus. This fact shocks the sensitive types who believe that the university should ban all guns. But, of course, a level-headed assessment of the situation will lead to the conclusion that, if such a ban were in place, the only ones carrying guns into classes would be crazed gunmen.

The anti-gun crowd can't see it, but it seems clear to me that the defensive-minded, gun-toting students in Utah will ensure that there will never -- never! -- be a Virginia-Tech-type massacre at their university.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on April 24, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (27) | TrackBack

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sneak preview

Here's a sneak preview of our new issue, just off the presses this morning: cover; column; story.

Normally we hold back on publishing to the Internet so that our home subscribers get the good stuff first. But this is a special case: one of the subjects of our cover story, an MP named Mark Holland, has threatened us with a lawsuit if we keep talking about him and the Liberal theft of Conservative personnel files. That's called libel chill -- an attempt to bully journalists (including bloggers) so that they stop talking about things.

We don't react well to libel chill over here at the Western Standard -- not from the Libranos, not from rioting anti-cartoon radicals. The proper response is to make sure our facts are accurate and our comments are fair, and then publish freely. Hence our cover story. Read it and tell us what you think. Feel free to post a comment. You, too, Mark.

Posted by Ezra Levant on April 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (58) | TrackBack

Poisoned food from Communist China enters human food chain

Kudos to Steve Janke for staying on top of this already huge yet still growing scandal, which is now looking like a deliberate move by food processors in Communist China to risk loss of life to make grain exports look more nutritious (and more valuable) than they really were.

Posted by D.J. McGuire on April 23, 2007 in International Affairs, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Crackdown On Women

Read about recent crackdown on Iranian women:

It is now the Shiite version of Taliban that hates every thing.

Posted by Winston on April 22, 2007 in Current Affairs, Religion | Permalink | Comments (27) | TrackBack